Pictured holding banner, from left, are Sarah Niebruegge and Rachel Lange. Pictured behind banner, from left, are Kylee Bowers, Brian Parizon and Cole Gierse. Following behind is Saint Paul’s 2012 graduate, JR Walls.
TROY — Saint Paul’s Lutheran School sent five student-athletes to complete in the Illinois Lutheran Schools State Track Meet at Concordia University in Chicago. The entourage included coaches, the athletes’ families, and other Saint Paul’s students.
The annual competition offers the opportunity for students in Lutheran schools throughout the state to compete at the next level as they prepare for their transition into high school sports. The 2014 competition included more than 500 athletes representing about 60 schools.
Two “junior” level athletes qualified and competed at the state meet this year. Cole Gierse, a sixth-grader at Saint Paul’s, placed seventh in the first heat of hurdlers after falling for the first time this season. His time was a bit over 25 seconds because of the fall. He continued and finished his race. His best qualifying time was less than 20 seconds. Cole is the son of Christopher and Maya Gierse of Troy.
Sixth-grader Samantha Kilzer qualified and competed in the 1600 meter, placing 21st in the state with a time of 6:34. These two will be ones to watch in the next two years as they move up to senior-level competition play. Samantha is the daughter of Allen and Karen Kilzer of Troy.
At the senior level, Saint Paul’s brought three athletes, eighth-graders Brian Parizon, Rachel Lange and Kylee Bowers (St. Paul’s Hamel). Rachel placed 17th in the state in girls discus with a length of 65 feet 3 inches, her own personal record. Brian finished in 20th place at state in boys discus with a length of 88 feet, 6 inches and also placed 14th at state in shotput with a throw of 33 feet.
Rachel is the daughter of Tracy and Rhonda Lange of Troy. Brian is the son of David and Lisa Parizon of Troy. Kylee is the daughter of Matthew and Sandra Bowers of Hamel.
Kylee and Rachel are moving on to Metro-East Lutheran High School in Edwardsville and plan to compete in athletics there as well. Brian plans to continue his sports career at Triad High School in Troy.
Head track coach Jim Walls thanked his assistant coaches, Jennifer Wittenberg and John Fischer, for their efforts on behalf of the team and school. Saint Paul’s athletic director is Lauren McLaughlin, who also teaches third and fourth grade at the school.
Walls said 15 students participated in track this season.
“We had a good representation (at state) of what our sports program will continue to produce,” Walls said.
For information about the school, call (618) 667-6314.